A few weeks ago my wife and I decided to replace our 5.8GHz two-handset cordless phone system. We got them for a great price but didn’t realize until after we had trashed the packaging that only one handset could be used at a time. That was a pretty big showstopper as it means one of us is tied to the corded phone in the kitchen.
While ambiently looking at phones at our local Best Buy, I came to a wonderful realization: DECT has finally made it to the US mainstream. I have friends in Europe, so I’ve known about (and been envious of) DECT for years. DECT has more in common with a GSM phone than it does a microwave. There are specs that deal with audio codecs, and there’s a Generic Access Profile which allows for at least a chance of interop between different manufacturers’ devices.
We eventually settled on the Panasonic KX-TG1034S with a total of 4 handsets, and we absolutely love them. I’ve used higher end Panasonic multi-phone systems over the years and I’ve always been happy.
Some of the things I’m particularly pleased with in our unit is the ability to edit the phonebook on one phone and synchronize it to all other phones linked to the base station. I can’t tell you how much time that will save us in the long run. I also like that I can check voicemail from any handset rather than trip over my junk in the den in order to hit the play button. I can also clear the caller ID of a missed call on one phone and that will propogate out to the other devices. These are (I believe) proprietary features that probably won’t work on a non-Panasonic system, but they’re quite nice indeed.
Like every wireless device in the US, DECT phones here run on a different frequency than everywhere else in the world (are you suprised?) They run at 1880-1900MHz in Europe and 1920-1930MHz in the US. It looks like DECT was approved at that frequency range back in 2005 but I’ve only noticed devices on the shelves for a few months now. DECT devices in the US are labeled “DECT 6.0” which seems utterly silly given that 6.0 has nothing to do with frequency (like 2.4 and 5.8 do), it’s just simply a marketing tactic (6.0 is clearly better than 5.8).
I’m glad that we’re slowly catching up on yet another wireless standard over here and I have nothing but good things to say about our new phones.